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Chapter 1



As we move into the 1990s, entrepreneurial self determination continues to release vast amounts of human energy and drive the formation of "start-up" companies based on a wide variety of technologies and applications. These emerging companies create a variety of new products, ranging from relatively simple hardware and firmware components to complete computer systems, which often offer as much as fifty times the performance or performance/price advantage of products produced by long-established firms. In bringing a new product to market, the engineering and overall organizational productivity of the start-up can be ten to fifty times greater than with a large, existing firm.

High-tech start-ups follow the basic process outlined in Figure 1.1. (Readers familiar with programming will immediately recognize that the process is formatted just like a computer program, which seemed appropriate in the present context. Readers unfamiliar with programming should have no trouble understanding the material either, since it can simply be read as ordinary text.)

Let's begin by considering the first few lines of this high-tech start-up "program":


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